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The Crime of Cardcaptors

A few weeks ago, KidsWB began airing a show entitled "Cardcaptors." Fans of Card Captor Sakura may have noticed that this show bears some eerie semblance to our beloved CLAMP creation.

Alas, it is, in fact, only a semblance.

Nelvana seems to have mutilated the show beyond all possible recognition.

If you visit their FAQ, you will notice that Nelvana attributes this to market research which indicates that "kids" wished to see the show center more on Li Syaoran (Li Showron, to uneducated Americans -- and never you mind that Li is supposed to be his last name). While we don't have access to their hard data, I rather suspect they polled a heavily male audience. You know, the ones who watch Pokemon. Because it is this same audience they wish to attract. (A later interview with Nelvana confirmed this fact -- it was requested by Kids WB. See http://www.fantasticon.com/anime/features/cardcaptors.html for more information.)

Since the existing animation market in American is something like 70 percent male, young males after all are the only people worth polling.

Girls just don't matter.

I even read a review by Steve Fritz that claims the following:

""Cardcaptors" is produced in what anime fans call "shojo," or girl's style. This means more emphasis is placed on characterization and lusher backgrounds than shojo's counterpart, the more action-oriented "shonin" or boy's style." "If this sounds sexist, you're right." (You can read the rest of his review here.)

It seems we need more of an education in just what sexism is.

But hey, the person he quoted from Nelvana couldn't even get the Japanese name of the show right. They call it Card Collector Sakura. Come on folks, get it together. I could understand if this was one of those vague translation things from Japanese to English. But the original anime has Card CAPTOR Sakura emblazoned across every opening credit. In English, no less. How stupid do you have to be not to get that right?(And lets not even get me started about how LAME the opening for Cardcaptors is.)

But you may be wondering what my specific complaints about sexism are?

Well, let's look at the animation currently on TV.

Batman Beyond. Two guys fighting crime.

The Batman / Superman Hour. Male superheroes again. The female role models? Well, Lois Lane. The report who always need to be rescued. Super/girl/. Bat/girl/.

Max Steel. Teenage Male superspy.

Pokemon. Two guys and an annoying girl, with their pokemon who are pretty much all male (or at least voiced by male-sounding actors in the vast majority of cases).

Men In Black. Doesn't that speak for itself? Sure, there's a girl. She's almost always locked up in the lab and just makes minor cameo appearances.

Sure, Detention and Hysteria have females in them. But both have substantially larger casts of what might be termed main characters.

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

I certainly do. And it's a chicken versus the egg sort of thing. Sure, males make up 70 percent of the market. But look how much of the market is aimed at them! Any show which does claim to be aimed at girls is usually so horribly patronizing that girls over the age of five refuse to watch the rot.

So what happens? Nelvana and WB get their hands on what is one of the most successful animes to come out of Japan in years. Rather than acknowledge and respect the show's success, they decide to almost entirely rewrite it. Sakura isn't good enough, you see. She's a girl. No boy will watch a show about a girl. After all, little boys have one collective brain the size of a pea pod.

And no girl will watch a cartoon unless her brother makes her. Or unless she's weird.

So what Nelvana has to do is remove all the emphasis from Sakura. You may have noticed the commercials for Cardcaptors all mention Lee's name first. And rather than run the episodes in order, we have to start with the very first episode (episode 8 for those keeping track) in which Lee appears. And because he doesn't show up in any of the next three episodes, we must then jump to episode 14 so that he will show up again. (And by the way, I counted. There are more than 15 original episodes he doesn't appear in. I wonder if they'll cut them entirely, or swipe footage from later shows and pretend he really did appear in those episodes?)

So the long and the short of it here is that Nelvana has committed a terrible heresy. They mutilated a fantastic show because they believe girls are not good enough. Rather than attempt to make a show that could actually capture a huge female following and tap into a new market with amazing potential (Cardcaptors merchandise sells very well in other countries that have stayed true to the show), we're going to focus on the boys.

I can't wait to see what the toys will be like.

The moral of my story? If you're going to buy a SHOUJO anime, realize that it IS meant for girls. And that girls do not have cooties. It IS ok to market to them.

Or are all of you still stuck in the second grade? (With apologies to actual second graders.)

Honana seems too cheerful for this article. I'll just sign off with a simple UGH!



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